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Microsoft Explains How Xbox One X Games Will Play Better on 1080P TVs

by on September 20, 2017
 

Stephan Jukic – September 20, 2017

Without a doubt, the Xbox One X gaming console that Microsoft will be releasing as of November 7th is going to be the ideal platform for owners of 4K HDR TVs who want to try out serious 4K HDR gaming. However, these people will for now at least probably be a minority of users for the One X, leaving possibly millions of 1080p TV wondering if it’s worth it for them to fork over nearly $500 for the high-end console.

Well according to Microsoft, the answer is a definite yes and the company has set out to explain exactly how the Xbox One X will also benefit 1080p TV owners in some pretty powerful ways.

For starters, Microsoft has created what it calls an Xbox One X Enhanced program, by which certain existing and new games are labeled as “enhanced” because they’ve been optimized to play better than ever on the new console regardless of whether it’s being used on a 4K HDR TV or a regular 1080p SDR TV. This label does not include 4K or HDR improvements since these are covered by entirely distinct labels for such games but it does mean smoother overall performance and graphics rendering on any TV without high dynamic range, ultra HD resolution and on most 1080p TVs in general.

This video discussion between Larry Hryb, Xbox and Albert Penello from the Xbox team goes into details about the Enhance dprogram and other improvements:

An example of these enhancements is the permission that Microsoft has given to game developers to use something called supersampling in their releases. With this feature, games will simply look cleaner and more finely rendered on 1080 P TVs because original native 4K graphics in a given game will have been scaled down for 1080p screens, conserving in the process, some of their sharper 4K graphics details. This means superior textures, faster frame rates and better color blending as well. Microsoft claims that supersampled “enhanced” games will create a noticeable improvement when used with 1080p displays and the One X console than they would if played on the same non-4K TVs with a regular Xbox One or even the newer Xbox One S.

Taking their claims of gaming improvements for the Xbox One X even further, Microsoft is also claiming that even some older games without an enhanced label will still benefit through the upcoming console due to improved texture management, frame rate handling and resolution refinements. Again though, for these older games without the enhanced label, the presence and degree of these benefits will depend on how a specific game was assembled.

Main Xbox One X feature labels

Main Xbox One X feature labels

As for the 4K indicator on new release games for the Xbox One X, it simply means that the game in question will offer a 2160p buffer with native 4K resolution support, checkerboarding and dynamic resolution handling. In other words, such games will be playable on native 4K HDR TVs with the Xbox One X while also being perfectly playable with some reductions in their quality on non-4K TVs. HDR support in games will also depend on whether the TV being used to play them also delivers HDR visuals in the HDR10 format that the Xbox One X is built to support. (We don’t yet have any word from Microsoft on the likelihood of Dolby Vision high dynamic range support in the near future). It’s worth noting that HDR games will also be perfectly playable on the older Xbox One S, which supports HDR10 as well when used with the right TV sets. In fact, all games released now and down the road for the Xbox One X will, according to Microsoft’s guidelines, be backward compatible with all previous versions of Xbox One.

Forza 7 in 4K HDR on Xbox One X

Forza 7 in 4K HDR on Xbox One X

The above are however just Microsoft guidelines and permissions to game development partners. The specific graphics capabilities of individual games will depend on how each developer decides to take advantage of all the extra power and graphics capabilities that the upcoming console allows. Some developers will undoubtedly stick to more conservative enhanced 1080p standards for their games while others will be (and already are) focusing on creating entertainment for the very best of the console’s graphics capabilities for high frame rate 4K gaming and full high dynamic range. Currently, there are over 130 enhanced titles already available for the Xbox One X and a large number of them also offer true 4K graphics support. For many of these latter games, such as “Forza 7” or “Rise of the Tomb Raider” to name just a couple examples, users will be able to pick between a 1080p graphics mode with enhanced textures and environments, or just jump straight into these games native 4K HDR modes if their TVs can handle those graphics.

The Xbox One X console going on sale for pre-order as of today, September 20th for a price of $499 for the 1TB version. It’s going to start shipping to buyers on November 7th.

Story by 4k.com

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